7 Apr. 2008

The Olympics Have Become An Exercise In Government Propaganda

A WTF??? moment in Paris:

There are calls for the Olympics Torch Relay to be canceled after the torch was extinguished several times during Paris demonstrations:
Chinese organizers finally gave up on the relay, canceling the last third of what China had hoped would be a joyous jog by torch-bearing VIPs past some of Paris' most famous landmarks.

Thousands of protesters slowed the relay to a stop-start crawl, with impassioned displays of anger over China's human rights record, its grip on Tibet and support for Sudan despite years of bloodshed in Darfur.

Five times, the Chinese officials in dark glasses and tracksuits who guard the torch extinguished it and retreated to the safety of a bus...
The torch is due in San Francisco tonight, where protesters have already scaled the Golden Gate Bridge. The FreeTibet.org message on their banners is usually obscured in media photos I've seen: this better pic is from Fairfax:

Kevin Rudd is planning to avoid the torch ceremony and has pledged that the torch will be guarded by Australians, not Chinese officials. But that's just not good enough. A desperate Hillary Clinton is calling on Bush to boycott the opening ceremony, but even that is not good enough.

It's time for the world to recognise that the Chinese government has not taken advantage of this historic opportunity to improve their human rights record, as they promised they would when granted the Games. Instead, what they have done is build stronger business and political ties to the global economic community, and used this influence to stifle criticism. That's why French protesters were calling the Chinese officials "Fascists".

The whole thing is now a sad piece of government propaganda. We should not be a part of it any longer. It's time Kevin Rudd (flying to China with Penny Wong today) canceled the Canberra torch relay and announced a complete Australian boycott of the Games. If our government won't do it, our athletes should.